Majority of federal MPs refuse to sign up to Tony Fitzgerald's ethical standards
- Category: Political Corruption Articles
- Created: Monday, 10 July 2017 15:30
- Written by Adam Gartrell - Sydney Morning Herald
Fewer than a quarter of federal politicians have agreed to commit to new ethical standards devised by legendary corruption fighter Tony Fitzgerald - and there is not a single Turnbull government MP among them.
The former judge teamed up with the left-leaning Australia Institute think tank to survey every federal politician on their values as part of a plan to clean up Canberra and build momentum for a federal anti-corruption body.
The Queensland QC – who presided over the Fitzgerald Inquiry that ultimately led to the resignation of former state premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen – developed the questionnaire to test MPs about their attitudes towards accountability, integrity, nepotism, deception and the spending of public money.
"The refusal of a majority of politicians to commit publicly to normal standards of behaviour puts the need for an effective anti-corruption commission beyond doubt," Mr Fitzgerald said.
"The major parties surely realise that the public wants politicians to behave honourably and that the scandals which are causing Australians to lose faith in democracy involve their members."
Thirty-eight members of the ALP agreed to the principles, including Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus. Seven members of the Australian Greens signed up, as did all four members of the Nick Xenophon Team, two independents and One Nation's Pauline Hanson.
No Coalition MPs - who are often instructed not to take part in surveys - signed up.
Australia Institute deputy director Ebony Bennett said polling shows a majority of Australians support establishing a federal anti-corruption commission with the power to hold public hearings. "A federal ICAC would help restore the public's eroding faith in federal politicians and institutions," she said.
Under current rules federal ministers are required to uphold a Statement of Ministerial Standards that insists on "the highest standards of integrity and propriety".
However there is no code of conduct covering other federal MPs or senators.
Thirty-seven prominent Australians have joined Mr Fitzgerald's push, including high-profile barristers Robert Richter, Geoffrey Watson, Brian Walters, Kristine Hanscombe and Stephen Keim.
The principles are also supported by former NSW DPP Nicholas Cowdery, ACTU president Ged Kearney, former NSW Parliament speaker and Liberal MP Kevin Rozzoli and a long list of academics.
The results will be a focus of the Accountability and the Law 2017 Conference to be held in Canberra in August.
The Fitzgerald Principles
- To act honourably and fairly and solely in the public interest
- To treat all citizens equally
- To tell the truth
- Not to mislead or deceive
- Not to withhold or obfuscate information to which voters are entitled
- Not to spend public money except for public benefit
- Not to use your position or information gained from your position for your benefit or the benefit of a family member, friend, political party or other related entity
Source : https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/majority-of-federal-mps-refuse-to-sign-up-to-tony-fitzgeralds-ethical-standards-20170710-gx820x.html